Tag Archive for fatal shooting

Bad night for cyclist shootings in Southern California; cyclist killing driver gets 25 to life for murder

Two bike riders lost their lives to gunfire Thursday night.

One in San Diego, and a second in Santa Ana six hours later.

According to the North County Times, San Diego police responded to reports of gunshots and a man down around 7pm on South 35th Street near Durant Street.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, had been riding his bike near his home when he was shot. He fell off his bike, then ran towards his home, collapsing before he could get there.

Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Six hours later, a second bike rider was shot and killed in Santa Ana in what police describe as a gang-related shooting.

The Orange County Register reports that 20-year old Edgar Omar Sura of Anaheim was found suffering from multiple wounds when police responded to reports of gunshots around 1am on the 4500 block of Westminster Avenue.

According to KABC-7, Sura was riding his bike when he was shot around La Bonita Avenue and 17th Street; like the victim in San Diego, he tried to run away, but collapsed before he could reach a nearby condo complex.

Authorities may offer a reward of $50,000 for information on the shooter(s).

These are the fifth and sixth fatal shootings of bike riders in Southern California this year, and the second each in both San Diego and Santa Ana.

Update: The San Diego-area victim has been identified as 44-year old Juan Carlos Martinez of Mountain View. 

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Finally, a fallen cyclist gets the justice he deserves.

Sixty-eight-year old Armando Herman Villalobos of Home Gardens was riding his bike home from the grocery store when he allegedly cut off a truck driven by 23-year old Anthony Ray Lopez of Corona.

Egged on by his passenger after an afternoon of drinking, Lopez followed Villalobos’ bike, yelling and cursing at him. When the cyclist ignored them, Lopez bumped the back wheel of the bike with his truck, yet somehow Villalobos managed to stay upright.

Then the passenger, 24-year old Christopher Isenhower, said “Let’s go for him,” according to a witness; Lopez gunned his engine, hitting Villalobos’ bike and sending him flying to his death. Lopez then fled the scene after stopping to dislodge the bike from under his truck.

Isenhower reported the hit-and-run to Riverside sheriff’s deputies later the same night — presumably after sobering up a little.

The Valley News reports that Lopez was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison on Friday, the sentence dictated by sentencing guidelines for first degree murder following Lopez’ conviction on August 30th.

No word on the charges or potential sentencing facing Isenhower, who appears far from innocent in this case.

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Photos courtesy of Michael Eisenberg

Michael Eisenberg sends word that the bike lane-blocking bus layover on Rinaldi Street has finally been repainted, as promised by Lynne Goldsmith at Bike Metro.

I saw this final restripe on the commute to work this morning. The bike lane used to be the closest 3 feet to the curb. They narrowed each car lane 1 foot. There is a broken line area where the buses are supposed to park, and this guy missed the mark by 40′, but the restripe job covered the entire block, so I guess it really doesn’t matter. There really isn’t safe passing room between the bus and the right car lane, but the restripe adds a little more visual acuity to the situation.

The shame is that the block before this one there is a really large dead area where the street is extra wide as it transitions of the 118 Fwy overpass where the buses could park without impeding any traffic or bike traffic.

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I couldn’t resist sharing this email from San Diego rider gottobike in response to yesterday’s discussion of Jerry Browned as the new, well-deserved term for getting dangerously buzzed by a passing car while riding your bike.

I was carefully Jerry Browned while cycling in San Diego the other day. While bicycling through a construction area, a motorist swerved into the bike lane at a high rate of speed and came very close to clipping me (the “classic” Jerry Brown). With gravel, sand, and dust flying, he segued this Jerry Brown maneuver into a right hook, and then quickly corrected and shot down a frontage street that paralleled our course.

When I caught up with the motorist to compliment him on his Jerry Browning skills, he assured me that even though he had cut in front of me, he had done it very carefully.

I’m sure this careful Jerry Browning did not present any risk to the motorist.

……..

Finally, you can thank me later.

Yet another life wasted, as 15-year old bike-riding boy killed in apparent Santa Ana gang shooting

Okay, so this isn’t exactly breaking news.

At first, I was waiting for more information. Then I found myself putting it off as long as possible because I just didn’t want to write about the colossal waste of life and immense idiocy of yet another gang shooting.

All because a boy was riding his bike in the wrong neighborhood, or wearing the wrong colors.

Or just, you know, because.

And yet, there it is.

About 6 pm Sunday night, 15-year old Jimmy Hernandez was riding on the 2000 block of West Myrtle Street in Santa Ana when a vehicle pulled up next to him. One of the people inside fired a single shot; Hernandez fell off his bike and tried to walk away before collapsing and dying at the scene, as the driver sped away.

A Santa Ana gang detective stopped a burgundy Lexus in the area, leading to the arrest of known gang members and convicted felons Brian Jose Miguel and Alberto Santana, 18 and 20-years old, respectively.

KABC-7 reports Miguel will be charged with murder, while Santana faces a parole violation related to the murder.

The two are suspected in two other recent shootings, as well.

Now one young life has been snuffed out, almost before it has even begun. And two others have been carelessly thrown away, likely facing a lifetime behind bars.

And if that’s not a waste of life, I don’t know what is.

This is the fourth fatal shooting of a bike rider in Southern California so far this year, and the first in Orange County. That compares with nine last year.

My deepest sympathy for Hernandez and his family.

Salmon cyclist killed in early morning Simi Valley collision; possible Riverside bike rider fatally shot

Just when it looked like we might make it through a single week without another cyclist getting killed — which would have made it the first fatality-free week in the last 11 — comes word that two riders have died in the last two days.

One by truck. One by gun.

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A 62-year old Simi Valley man died in a Thousand Oaks hospital less than an hour after he was hit by a semi-truck while riding the wrong way on a darkened street.

According to the Ventura County Star, Trinidad Nava was riding south in the north-bound side of First Street at Easy Street in Simi Valley around 4:35 am Friday, when a big rig truck made a right turn out of a driveway and hit Nava head-on; KTVA radio says the truck was leaving a car dealership.

The paper reports he was riding without lights despite the early hour; Nava was declared dead of blunt force trauma at 5:30 am.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stayed at the scene and tried to help him.

The Star notes that the crash occurred just blocks from where the Simi Valley City Council recently rejected proposed bike lanes on Los Angeles Avenue at the urging of local business owners; however, even if they had been approved, they would not have made a difference in this case.

What might have helped is better education and outreach.

Many cyclists who learned to ride in Central American countries were taught to ride facing traffic, rather than with traffic; some Americans were taught the same thing, especially those who started riding as children in the 50s and 60s. Yet riding against traffic greatly increases risk to riders by placing them where drivers aren’t looking for them, while reducing reaction times and increasing the force of impact.

At the same time, outreach programs, such as the LACBC’s former City of Lights program, have worked to provide lights to riders who may not understand the need for them or have the money to buy them. I don’t know if such a program exists in Ventura County.

Either way, it’s too late to help Navi.

This is the 45th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Ventura County, following the death of Guadalupe Cruz in Fillmore this June; Cruz was reportedly riding on the wrong side of the street, as well.

My sympathy and prayers for Navi and his loved ones. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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Riverside police report that a man has died after being found suffering from gunshot wounds on Wednesday; the Southwest Riverside News Network says that he was found next to a bicycle.

Thirty-seven-year old Riverside resident Rene Barrientos Corona was found at Arlington Avenue near Fairhaven Drive in the La Sierra Hills neighborhood when police responded to a report of a man down and bleeding in the street.

Police initially thought he had been hit by a car before medical personnel determined that he had been shot; Corona died at a local hospital the following night.

There’s no indication whether he was riding the bike or walking it at the time of the shooting; it’s possible that the bike wasn’t even his. However, the presence of the bike and the fact that police assumed he’d been hit by a car would suggest it was.

Witnesses said a dark, four-door vehicle with a spoiler on the back sped away from the area where Corona was found. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Ron Sanfilippo at 951-353-7105 or Detective Rick Cobb at 951-353-7135.

Corona is the third bike rider to be killed by gunfire in Southern California this year, compared to nine last year.

My prayers for Corona and his family.

Update: Bike rider shot and killed in San Diego

As if the city’s notorious traffic and dangerous streets wasn’t bad enough, a San Diego cyclist has fallen victim to bullets.

San Diego’s 10News reports that an 18-year old man was shot and killed while riding his bike near the City Heights neighborhood. The incident occurred around 9:30 am Sunday on the 4200 block of Chamoune Avenue near Orange Avenue.

According to 10News, the rider, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was being pursued by up to three men when he was hit by gunfire and fell off his bike into the street. He then stumbled to the fire station across the street; unfortunately, the unit was out on a call, and he was dead by the time help could arrive.

The shooter was described only as a black man in dark shorts.

This is the second fatal shooting of a cyclist that I’m aware of in Southern California this year, compared to nine last year.

Which makes it about two too many.

Update: As if this wasn’t enough of a tragedy, the San Diego Medical Examiner’s office has identified the victim as Joseph Alonzo Hutchins — who was killed the morning after his 19th birthday.

What a waste.

Update: Two cyclists shot in Koreatown, one killed

Multiple sources report that two Hispanic men were shot while riding their bikes in Koreatown Saturday afternoon.

According to the L.A. Times, incident began near the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and San Marino Street around 1:20 pm, when a bike rider was struck by a white SUV. One of the men inside the SUV then got out and shot the victim as he lay on the ground, killing him.

Witnesses report that the SUV appeared to be chasing at least one one of the riders when some sort of altercation occurred leading up to the collision and shooting.

Following the first shooting, the men in the SUV began pursuing the second rider; it’s unclear whether he was riding with the first victim or just happened to be riding alone in the same area. He was shot by the same man in the 800 block of south Vermont Avenue; fortunately, his wounds are not life threatening.

The suspects are described only as three Hispanic men in a white SUV-like vehicle. They were last seen driving south on Vermont Avenue towards Olympic Boulevard.

Police continue to investigate the motive for the shooting.

While gang violence seems like the obvious explanation, as the Times points out, it could also be the result of road rage or a personal vendetta.

Thanks to Sam Ebnet for the heads-up.

Update: KABC-7 identifies the victim as a 19-year old Los Angeles resident; while they give a name on the video report, but I’m unable to clearly make it out after several listenings. Police report two men exited the vehicle; witnesses report hearing approximately 15 gunshots.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Mark Morgan at 213/38-9470 or 877/527-3247.

Update 2: LAist identifies the victim as Shaoyan Almazan. The Times reports Almazan appears to have been targeted by his killers.

Update 3: According to the L.A. Times, the second victim was riding with Almazan, and was struck in the hand as he tried to ride away. He stopped to in the 800 block of Vermont to call 911, which is why he was found a few blocks away. The shooter is described as medium height and weight, wearing a hooded sweat shirt. In other words, it could be just about anyone.

Still no word on why the riders were targeted.

Update 4: According to the LAPD, the shooting was definitely gang related. That doesn’t make it any better, but it means local cyclists don’t have to worry about a crazed road raging driver roaming the streets.

Just a cold-blooded killer.

Make that nine — yet another bike rider shot and killed, this time in Pico Rivera

My apologies.

I just don’t have it in me to write about yet another bike death, the third one in the last three days. And the second fatal early morning shooting in two days, following the solo riding death of Mark Leones on Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the cyclist was shot while riding at the intersection of Harrell Drive and Layman Avenue in Pico Rivera at 1:25 am Tuesday. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune identifies the victim as 33-year old Juan Z. Gutierrez of Whittier. According to the Tribune, the motive and suspects are still unknown.

This shooting took place less than 10 miles from the previous night’s shooting in Downey.

Gutierrez is the 9th person to be shot and killed while riding a bike in Southern California this year, and the 8th in Los Angeles County.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

My sympathies to Gutierrez’ family and loved ones.

And please, dear God, don’t let anyone else get killed riding a bike this week. Or at all, ever again.

Please.

19-year old Downey man fatally shot while riding his bike; 8th fatal SoCal bike shooting this year

This has got to stop.

According to the Downey Beat, a 19-year old man was shot to death while riding his bike in Downey early Monday morning.

The man, who has not yet been publicly identified, was found bleeding in the street on Earnshaw Avenue near the intersection with Prichard Street around 3 am. Police report few clues and no witnesses; the site reports that it’s currently unknown if he was shot from a passing car or because of a dispute, or for some other reason.

Despite the lack of public ID, the victim was clearly well known in the neighborhood, described as friendly man and a good barber who gave haircuts to local residents.

This is the eight shooting victim killed while riding a bike this year, and the seventh in the County of Los Angeles. That compares with 59 cyclists killed in traffic-related collision since the first of the year.

He may not have been targeted because he rode a bike. But the loss of a young man who hadn’t even seen his 20th birthday is every bit as tragic.

And just as much a waste.

My sympathies to the victim’s family and friends.

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Cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels reports that Shawn Fields, who was recently sentenced to seven years in the drunken hit-and-run death of 17-year old Pacoima cyclist Danny Marin, has filed an appeal of his conviction.

Wheels reports that the appeal was filed the same day Fields changed his plea. There’s no basis given, but it’s a safe bet that it hinges on the defense’s motion to have almost all the evidence tossed for lack of probable cause in entering Field’s home to make the arrest, which was denied by the judge.

Fields was sentenced to 2 years for the vehicular manslaughter charge, plus five for the hit-and-run, as well as ordered to pay $10,515 in restitution to the victim’s family.

He is now confined in the North Kern Prison, where he can expect to spend at least the next three-plus years with good behavior.

Another fatal shooting of a bike rider in Long Beach; should we care?

Does it really matter?

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, an unidentified man was shot and killed in Long Beach around 7:30 Saturday night; or rather, the authorities have not publicly released the victim’s ID yet.

Police found the victim on the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue after responding to reports of shots fired; he was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his wounds. Witnesses report he’d been riding his bike when he was shot, though police could not confirm that. However, a bike is clearly visible lying in the street in the news photos.

No description was available for the suspect(s), who remain at large. Police do not yet know if the shooting was gang related.

Chances are, though, it was.

Not because of any stereotypes about the location, though Long Beach has long had a gang problem, just like many or most cities in Southern California. But because most street shootings involve gang ties in some way.

Of the six — now seven — fatal shootings of cyclists in SoCal this year, at least four were suspected of being gang-related. One in Silver Lake last April involved an alleged gang member as the shooter, though the victim — and the reason for the shooting — had nothing to do with gangs. And last I heard, another April shooting, this time in San Diego, did not appear to be gang-related.

So what do these deaths have to do with the greater cycling community?

In most, if not all of these cases, the victims were not targeted because they were on a bike; the bike was merely the form of transportation they were using at the time.

That’s the argument several people have used in encouraging me not to give the same coverage to cases like this that I do to other cycling deaths. And why I no longer include shootings in my stats on cycling fatalities, instead separating them into their own category apart from traffic-related deaths.

Still others have questioned whether shooting victims should be honored with a ghost bike. Or if they should be, if not ignored by cyclists, at least not afforded the same concern and respect we show other fallen riders.

And should his death matter any less to us if it does turn out to be gang-related than if he was the victim of a road rage attack, killed precisely because he was on a bike and in the way?

My personal opinion is that all deaths matter, and that as cyclists, we should all be concerned when any one of us falls, for whatever reason.

For at least a moment, at the time of his death, this man was riding a bike. He was, however briefly or for whatever reason, one of us.

And he is now dead, like too many others. Whether they were victims of guns, or cars. Or their own riding errors.

He was one of us, and now he is gone.

So what do you think?

Should we care?

Or simply turn our heads and look the other way?

Update: the victim of the shooting has been identified as 29-year old Reynard Lionell Fulton of Palmdale.

Yet another teenage bike rider killed in shooting. Does it matter?

Last April, a 17-year old cyclist was hit and killed by a speeding car on a busy Valley boulevard. The driver roared away without even slowing down, leaving Alex Romero to die in the street.

Last Saturday, another 17-year old was killed while riding his bike, this time in Lincoln Heights near Downtown L.A.

Instead of a careless, heartless and overly aggressive driver, this young man, still not publicly identified, encountered a group of gang members who opened fire as he attempted to ride away; he died a short time later at USC Medical Center.

Should we care about one, and not the other?

Thousands of cyclists and other Angelenos have been deeply affected by the death of Romero, as well as Danny Marin, another rider killed in a similar collision.

And neither begins to compare with the outpouring of grief demonstrated for Connor Lynch, the 16-year old runner from the valley’s exclusive Notre Dame High School killed by a young driver who fled before turning herself in a few blocks away

Yet when we see the words gang shooting, we turn our heads and look the other way.

Just one of those things. One of those people. Yet another victim of a community that long ago learned to live and die with violence.

Yet this young man had as much of a future as Romero, Marin and Lynch.

Maybe he had more challenges to overcome, maybe less. We don’t even know who he was yet, let alone why he was killed.

Maybe he was in the wrong gang. Maybe he was just wearing the wrong colors, or dressed the wrong way. Maybe he was someone they knew.

Maybe he was just an innocent victim, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We may never know. The press usually doesn’t have much interest in cases like this; just another gang shooting, another young victim of the streets. No follow-up likely, unless something unusual turns up or, for some reason, the public happens to care.

Yet this young man’s future was still unwritten, and like the others — and every young person— full of near infinite possibilities that will never be fulfilled.

And family and friends who are undoubtedly devastated by the news, and wondering how they will ever go on without him.

A death is a death, whether it comes from a bullet or the bumper of a car.

Does it really matter how or why?

He was on a bike.

He was one of us.

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According to KTLA-5, the shooting occurred in front of a closed business on the 300 block of West Avenue 33 in Lincoln Heights around 8:30 pm Saturday.

Detectives believe the victim encountered a group of gang members, who opened fire as he tried to ride away; responding officers found him laying in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detectives J. Rios or Cary Ricard at (323) 342-8959. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

This is the 6th fatal shooting of a bicyclist in Southern California this year, and the 5th in Los Angeles County. His was the 43rd confirmed cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in L.A. County.

And most likely, far from the last.

Yet another bike rider shot and killed; 15-year old SD cyclist critically injured by 84-year old driver

The Daily News reports that a bicyclist was killed in a Long Beach shooting last night.

The shooting occurred prior to 8 pm Tuesday on the 2100 block of East 14th Street; no other details are available at this time.

This is the 5th cyclist fatally shot in Southern California this year, and the 4th in L.A. County.

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An anonymous reader forwards news of a tragic collision in San Diego last week, in which a 15 year old boy was critically injured when an 84-year old driver mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

Isaiah Fisher remains in a coma after reconstruction surgery to the entire right side of his face. The van driven by Dean Hedlund reportedly made a wide left turn, went over the curb and hit a light pole before colliding with Fisher.

Just when an elderly driver is no longer able to drive safely is one of the hardest questions any family will face. For older people, driving means represents freedom and an ability to care for themselves, yet it can also pose a significant risk to themselves and everyone else on the road as their ability and judgement decline.

The hard part is that this occurs at a different rate for every individual. Some can no longer drive safely in their 60’s, while others can maintain full control of a motor vehicle decades later.

We took my father-in-law’s keys away after he suffered a severe stroke; even with significant physical impairment, he would have gladly gotten back behind the wheel if he could.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have such a clearly defined indicator that they can no longer drive safely. The warning signs of declining driving ability are usually subtle and slow to develop, often not becoming apparent until it’s too late; Hedlund himself denied that his age was a factor in the collision.

As a society, we haven’t begun to address this problem.

Instead of mandating annual testing after a certain age, we leave it up to often unqualified family members to recognize the problem and take away the keys.

As Isiah Fisher tragically shows, that’s just not good enough.

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Speaking of drivers who should be on the road, Bikeside’s Alex Thompson offers a full update on the condition of the victims, as well a interviews with witnesses, in the Culver City collision that injured 11 cyclists, 6 seriously enough to require hospitalization.And he forwards a link to some very sick and disturbed people who consider Christine Dahab, the driver who put all those people in the hospital, a hero.

Maybe we should force everyone who posts such vile comments online to visit the victims of their hatred, and see firsthand what drunken and/or distracted carelessness can do.

Maybe then they might rediscover a shred of their own humanity.

Doubtful, though.

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